Eunice Olumide at the Edinburgh Book Festival


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Edinburgh born supermodel Eunice Olumide has worked all over the world, walking the catwalk for legendary designers including Mulberry, Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane and Harris Tweed. In ‘How to Get into Fashion’, she shares insider tips on her sought-after industry and in this event opens the door into the rarefied world of haute couture. Olumide appears in conversation with Elizabeth Paton, European styles correspondent of The New York Times.

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This is Eunice modelling the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee tartan as a hostess at the Herald Fashion Awards in Glasgow. You can order the tartan cloth at



ReTweed will be attending the Social Enterprise World Forum in Addis Ababa


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It’s been a great August for International Tartans accessories supplier, ReTweed, the social enterprise based in Eyemouth, Berwickshire.

It has been announced that Founder and Director Hazel Smith will be part of a Scottish delegation led by Cabinet Secretary Aileen Campbell MSP attending the Social Enterprise World Forum in Addis Ababa this October along with some 1200 delegates from around the world.

Hosted by the British Council the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) is the leading forum for international exchange and collaboration in social entrepreneurship and social investment. The annual event was first held in Edinburgh in 2008 and has since been held on six continents. This is a historic occasion as it is the first time the SEWF will be held in a developing economy.

Hazel will be delivering a paper outlining the creation, development and future plans for Retweed as a model social enterprise and, as an addition to this unique occasion, the volunteers and trainees at ReTweed are busy making a range of accessories in the Ethiopia tartan as gifts for their hosts. The Ethiopia tartan is from International Tartans ‘Tartans for Africa’ range.

The Ethiopia tartan at the ‘Tartans for Africa’ fashion show. Full video here.

tartans for africa

As a division of International Tartans ‘Tartans for Africa’ is a project comprising the registered tartans of some twenty African countries. Offered as a unifying national symbol for each country, ‘Tartans for African’ uses these tartans to generate funds for numerous ‘good causes’. From each purchase a 10% contribution is made to an appropriate ‘good cause’ – ‘the 10% solution’. Apart from individuals, schools and charities, customers include a number of MP’s and MSP’s and the Scottish Government.

The Catalunya Escocia Tartan


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Letter published in The National Newspaper Thursday 8th August

It may interest you to know that the good people of Catalonia actually have their own tartan. Commissioned by Catalans in Edinburgh the Catalunya Escocia tartan is registered no. 11163 on the Scottish Register of Tartans. The colours are based on the ‘Estelada’, the flag of the independence movement in Catalonia.

It was launched at a fashion show in Glasgow, the occasion being the ‘Football Fashionistas’ fashion show at the second Tartan & Turban Burns Supper at the Thistle Hotel in aid of ‘Show Racism the Red Card.’ It represented Barcelona.

The event was organised by the Sikh community in the West of Scotland and compered by Hardeep Sing Kholi. His fee was a kilt in the Spirit of India tartan.

Sakura Metallica


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The Sakura Metallica was created by Mrs Carole Hebberd in Waipu on the North Island of New Zealand for the annual ‘Art ‘N Tartan show’, an event featuring original creations in a combination of art and fashion that must be wearable. International Tartans donated a piece of Sakura tartan. The composition was runner-up overall and easily won the People’s Choice vote.
The design combines elements of a Samurai and a Highlander with overtones of native Maori costume celebrating the annual arrival of the cherry blossom (sakura is Japanese for cherry blossom).
Waipu was settled by some 800 Scots in the 1850s. Cleared from the Highlands of Scotland they found Nova Scotia unsuitable and made the perilous journey to New Zealand. Each year the people of Waipu stage a Highland Games and regular Scottish events throughout the year. Art ‘N tartan began as their contribution to Tartan Day.  Long may it continue.

The FINNISH tartan


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Congratulations to Finland which has taken over the Presidency of the European Union Commission for the third time. Finland is a valued member of the International Tartans family.

From the Middle Ages, multitudes of Scots flocked to Russia, and some of them became the most famous names of the Scottish Diaspora. Literally, hundreds of Scots became distinguished in the history, industrial development and culture of this part of the Baltic. An envious English observer noted in 1805 that, ‘to come from the north side of the Tweed is the best recommendation a man can bring to St. Petersburg’. At this time modern-day Finland was a Grand Duchy and still part of the Russian Empire.

By one of these strange acts of fate master machinist James Finlayson of Penicuik’s arrival in St. Petersburg coincided with Czar Alexander I’s desire to promote Russia’s industrial development, and on a tour of the neighbouring Grand Duchy of Finland in 1820, Finlayson discovered the fast-flowing waters at Tammefors (Tampere):: the perfect place to make machinery for Russia’s fast-expanding empire. And from making textile machinery Finlayson soon progressed to making the textiles themselves. A devout Christian, Finlayson’s new factory at its peak employed over 3000 workers and was a model of good management.

And so Finland’s industrial revolution was born and Finland’s second city of Tampere arose.

The Finlayson brand still survives to this day as does his reputation as marked on his headstone. “His spiritual qualities and his love of mankind have seen his name being one deeply respected in Finland’s industrial and national history”

The Finnish tartan combines the colours in the flags of Finland and Scotland.

finnish tartan

Registered with the Scottish Tartans Register  No. 3179.


The Life of St. George and the St. George Tartan



The life of St. George is shrouded in legend, but he was almost certainly born in the Holy Land. Converted to Christianity, he was imprisoned and tortured by Emperor Diocletian (245 – 313 AD)., and upon refusing to recant his faith he was eventually beheaded. The Emperor’s wife Alexandria was so impressed by his courage that she became a Christian and so too was put to death.

The best-known legend surrounding St. George is that of the dragon. According to this legend, a pagan town in what is now Libya was being terrorised by a fierce dragon. To placate the insatiable beast the locals began to sacrifice their own townspeople. Finally, the local Princess was to be sacrificed, but good St. George came along, slaughtered the dragon and rescued the fair Princess. At this, the townsfolk converted to Christianity.

In 1222 the Council of Oxford declared 23rd. April as his Feast Day, and he eventually became the Patron Saint of England sometime in the 14th Century. It is traditional for men to celebrate St. George’s Day by giving their ladies a red rose to honour the memory of St. George and the Princess he saved from the dragon.

The St. George tartan has been designed to incorporate those emblems which best represent England as a nation:

The RED Cross of St. George on its WHITE field, surrounded by the three lions passant which form the Arms of England, and set in BLUE symbolising its island nature and dominance of the High Seas, laced with Royal PURPLE representing 1000 years of enduring monarchic tradition.

Registered on the Scottish Tartans Register No. 3178.


The Wounded Warriors Project and the Spirit of Ukraine Tartan


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The Wounded Warriors Project is a US-based global non-profit organisation that cares for US military service veterans and their families.

International Tartan was asked to provide scarves in the Spirit of Ukraine tartan as a gift for WWP volunteers in Ukraine. The scarves themselves were made by volunteers and trainees at Re-tweed, a social enterprise based in Eyemouth in Berwickshire, which trains women in tailoring and hand-crafting skills.

Despite the short notice, the scarves were made and arrived in Ukraine in time for the handover ceremony. The images show General Gavrilov and the Ukrainian team at the presentation ceremony in the magnificent FC Dynamo Kiev Stadium

The team are coming to Scotland in June and will be wearing their scarves when they run in a fund-raising cross-country event.

International Tartans: uniting the world, one tartan at a time.

The Spirit of Kazakhstan Tartan


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There was a shock awaiting the Tartan Army when they arrived in Astana for the Kazakhstan v Scotland Euro Nations 2020 qualifier. They were greeted by Kazakhstan’s own Tartan Army in their very own Spirit of Kazakhstan tartan. Here’s a picture of the advance guard.

The colours of the Spirit of Kazakhstan tartan are taken from the colours and symbols in the national flag of Kazakhstan and blended together to create a unique and distinctive design.

BLUE symbolises peace and unity and the infinite sky.

GOLD represents the sun, the source of light and energy which was a symbol of progress and movement for nomads, and is also used to symbolise the eagle and national ornament of Kazakhstan.

Congratulations for the amazing victory, Kazakhstan.


Kazakhstan tartan

About The Spirit of Serbia Tartan and the work of Dr Elsie Maude Inglis


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For a century now we have honoured the sacrifice of the millions of men slaughtered or wounded on the battlefields of Europe and beyond in that ‘Great War’ to end all wars. Europe abounds with memorials and graveyards, yet little mention has been made of the role of women, and one woman in particular – Dr Elsie Maude Inglis.

A qualified doctor and surgeon, and prominent in the Suffragette Movement, she was determined to play a part in the First World War. This extraordinary woman didn’t take up arms or fight in the conventional sense, but took on and overcame the British Establishment for the right to mend and heal the casualties of war by founding the Scottish Women’s Hospital for Foreign Service

Told by the War Office to “… go home and sit still” she was invited by France to set up a battlefield hospital unit run entirely by women. The London Suffrage Society financed Inglis and eighty women to support Serbian soldiers fighting for the allies and during the First World War arranged fourteen such medical units to serve in France, Serbia, Corsica, Salonika, RomaniaRussia and Malta. One government official who saw the doctors and nurses working in Russia remarked that: “No wonder Scotland* is a great country if the women are like that.”

Although she died in Newcastle on her journey home to the city of her upbringing, ‘Her people brought her back to the city of her fathers…Over her hung the torn banners of Scotland’s history. On her coffin, as she lay looking to the east in high St Giles’, were placed the flags of Great Britain and Serbia.’ After the funeral service, the coffin was placed on a gun-carriage.

‘Across the Water of Leith the long procession wound its way. Within sight of the grave it was granted to her grateful brethren, the representatives of the Serbian nation, to carry her coffin, and lower it to the place where the mortal in her was to lie in its last rest.’

Arthur Balfour, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs commented on her death: “Elsie Inglis was a wonderful compound of enthusiasm, strength of purpose and kindliness. In the history of this World War, alike by what she did and by the heroism, driving power and the simplicity by which she did it, Elsie Inglis has earned an everlasting place of honour.”

One can only surmise as to the number of troops whose lives were saved by Inglis and her colleagues, and marvel at the number of their descendants alive today: thousands, perhaps tens of thousands.

Although Edinburgh was to honour her with the creation of the Elsie Inglis Memorial Maternity Hospital in 1925 (with surplus funds arising from disbandment of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service, which she herself had formed)it was closed in 1988. There is the odd plaque in her name dotted throughout the city and even a short cul-de-sac – the Elsie Inglis Way – near the site of the former memorial hospital, but nothing substantive. In Serbia, they have street names, exhibitions, museums and even some new facilities named after, not just Elsie Inglis, but a number of the other women who served in the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. In 2015 Dr Inglis and five other female volunteers were honoured by appearing on commemorative Serbian stamps. Since there are more than 43 statues of men in Edinburgh city centre but only two statues of women – one of Queen Victoria and one of a female victim of apartheid – might now be the time for us to honour this truly remarkable woman in her native city. To this end, and to honour the links she created with Serbia, proceeds from the newly-designed SPIRIT of SERBIA tartan will go the trust established to fund a statue to Elsie Inglis. They will be shared with Hospices of Hope a charity that embodies Elsie Inglis’s selfless dedication to humanity.

Founded by Graham Perolls in 1991 Hospices of Hope has seen the organisation develop from very small beginnings into the leading hospice care organisation in South East Europe. Their latest project – the BELhospice in Belgrade – is now underway, and is the first purpose-built hospice in Serbia. One of the wards will be named after Dr Elsie Inglis.

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The Spirit of Serbia tartan will be launched on International Women’s Day on 8th March.

For more information about Hospice of Hope go to

For more information on the life and work of Dr Elsie Inglis see: ‘Between the Lines: Letters and Diaries from Elsie Inglis’s Russian Unit’ by Audrey Fawcett Cahill published by The Pentland Press


The Spirit of UKRAINE Tartan


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Luhansk, or Lugansk in Ukraine, as it is known by its majority Russian-speaking population, was, in fact, established by Scots. “Brother Scots!” declares the “Luhansk is Scotland” campaign. “The time has come to blow the pipes and come out in favour of reunion with the motherland. God Save the Queen.”


A humorous manifesto, published by local newspaper V Gorode, sets out the case. “We all know that Luhansk and the Luhansk region owe their existence to the Scottish engineer Charles Gascoigne,” it says. “It was he who explored our seams of coal and ore and who laid the foundations for our glorious industrial land. The industrious nature of Scottish families formed the basis of the hardworking character of modern Luhansk people. We think of Luhansk as a true Scottish city.”


It was, in fact, a Scotsman, Charles Gascoigne – known locally as Karl Karlovich Gaskoin – who founded Luhansk in 1795 and ran it, as a factory settlement, till 1806. His statue still stands in the city’s centre. A shareholder of the famous Carron works in Falkirk, Gascoigne was one of a huge number of Scots entrepreneurs, engineers and other experts who served the then Russian empire in the 18th century. Many came from the Falkirk area. In Luhansk, they lived in a special colony on the new town’s main drag, called “English Street”.


As early as the eighteenth century Semen Desnytskyi, a Ukrainian economist and lawyer, studied at Glasgow University. A significant number of the Ukrainians who came to the UK as a result of the Second World War initially resided in Scotland, where they were employed mainly in agriculture.

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The Spirit of Ukraine tartan takes its colours from the national flag of Ukraine and is registered on the Scottish Register of Tartans No 12125